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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old December 30th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #1
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I received the WA yesterday and tested it last night and this morning in various lighting condiditons... It appears to be very clean, but brother, what a big MoFo lens this is! I had hoped it would be smaller and lighter than the 20, but it ain't...

There is noticeable barrel distortion just outside of center to the edge, and while it's more noticeable than that on my Cooke 5.4-52mm Super16 lens (which cost $16,000 ten years ago), it isn't all that distracting.. The edges are sharp, though, even wide open.

One thing I do seem to notice - but have yet to do a side-by-side comparison - is that the maximum aperature may be somewhat optimistic - when set at f1.6 at full wide, seems to be about a stop to a stop and a half under the 20x.. has anyone else noticed this?
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 03:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
One thing I do seem to notice - but have yet to do a side-by-side comparison - is that the maximum aperature may be somewhat optimistic - when set at f1.6 at full wide, seems to be about a stop to a stop and a half under the 20x.. has anyone else noticed this?
Steven,
I do not have the 6x lens to reference but for what it is worth I felt the same about the A1 while I had it. It seemed a stop slower than the H1. In addition minimum aperture seems to change in a more linear fashion as you zoom. The end result for me was that when using the A1 at a wedding reception, zooming, even part way, caused a serious drop off of light. In comparison the H1 seemed faster even at it's widest and held that until much further into the zoom.

I don't know if the A1 lens and the 6x share any design elements but they seem to behave similar.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 05:09 PM   #3
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Marty: I don't think it's design elements as much as a function of the reliability of F stops on zoom lenses... F stops are a theoretical, mathematical estimate of the amount of light that passes through the lens at a particular opening.. With prime (non-zoom) lenses, which have fewer elements that don't move, this formula tends to be more accurate.

Professional cine lenses all have T stops. "T" stands for transmission, and these stops are calibrated by actually measuring the amount of light that passes through, is transmitted by, the lens. Obviously, on a complex lens like the 20x or 6x, T stops would be much better, because you could shoot a scene w/ one lens at T4, change to the other lens and keep shooting at T4 and they would match...

But most people, myself included, don't measure exposure for video with a meter - and of course you can't set the value on the lens barrel at all - so the stops visible in the finder are only a form of feedback.

Plus, T stops are often as much as a half to a full stop less than the F stop on the same lens.. (look at the iris ring of an old Angenieux 12-120... it'll say "F2.2" on the white scale and "T2.8" on the red)..

So when a company wants to attract customers, they're going to get more action by advertising "Look how fast our lens is, it's an f1.6" than by saying "Well, it's really only a T2.2, but look, we're giving you real professional T stops!"

By the way, I shot some interior scenes yesterday with both lenses, and the 6x is definitely slower by at least 1/2 a stop, maybe more - the good news is the at full wide angle, wide open at F1.6, the 6x is considerably sharper than the 20x in the same situation - so much so that my non-technical filmmaking partner actually commented on it.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:50 PM   #4
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ummm.....okay thanks. I appreciate the information but I was simply trying to say that I felt the A1 seemed a little slower than the H1 with the 20x lens and definitely much slower than the manual lens. SO perhaps the wider design creates some additional loss of light through the elements or something.

I understand all the T stop info but in laymans terms, the A1 seemed slower than the H1. In fact at equal focal lengths it definitely is. The H1 20x lens stops down at a slower rate and then really drops off the last 10% of the zoom. The A1 was more linear and my gut tells me that even at the widest end of the zoom it seemed slower. But I did not have both to test to confirm this.

Peace!
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #5
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Sorry - I didn't mean to get so technical, but I just wanted to point out that many manufacturers often rate the maximum aperatures of their zoom lenses optimistically, and I got bogged down in the reason they're able to get away with it...

I haven't even seen an A1, I had considered getting one as a back-up camera, but decided against it after reading your post about selling yours and getting another H1... Plus I really don't like that bulbous mike - and the fact that you need a special matte box for the thing...

S-o-o, I used the cash to get the WA, and soon, when they're available, I'll spring for another H1 body...
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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Steven,

What did you see in my post that made you opt against the A1? I had a lot of reasons myself but most of them revolved around ergonomics. For me, the A1 cannot take the place of the H1 because of that. However...I would love to have an A1 in addition to the H1. In fact, whenever I think I should try to save up for the 6x wide angle, I find myself saying "for a little bit more I can afford the A1 which would act as a 2nd camera and a wide angle (albeit not as wide as the 6x).

The A1 has it's place and I would sure love one as a 2nd camera.


Peace!
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Old January 4th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #7
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Marty - ergonomics is a big deal to me since I work handheld most of the time... The A1 would be a great camera for use in cars, airplnes & the like, (that's what I used the Sony PD150 for) and I will probably get one eventually.

But the H1, stripped down (I have a lot of stuff on mine) is useable for most of what I'm doing, especially with the WA, which, as I say, is a nice lens wide...

I do like the LCD on the small cameras though, because you can put the camera on the dashboard and see what you're doing...
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